Saturday, July 23, 2011

Considering adoption?

It has been such a delight to me through the process of our adoption to hear from so many friends who are considering adoption and/or feeling called in some way to care for orphans. I thought I’d share over the next week or so some of what I’ve learned, for the sake of those who are considering these things.

Obviously…I’m not an expert, and we’re only halfway through our own adoption.

First: I’d really encourage you to do your research on the different options: domestic adoption (especially trans-racial, which tends to be the highest domestic need), adoption from foster care (or just straight foster care, which is an AMAZING opportunity, if it’s a fit for your family), and international adoption.

I am super excited that the Lord is moving so many families toward adoption and care for the widow and the orphan. Obviously if you’re considering adoption as an option for your family, you need to consider what the best fit is for your family.

BUT it is also very important to consider where the areas of greatest needs are. Many many families enter adoption looking for a healthy as-young-as-possible infant (girls are most popular right now). While that’s totally understandable, of the 147 million children orphaned world-wide, a very very small number of them are healthy infants. And healthy infants are often very adoptable within their own culture and country – and if it is at all possible for a child to remain in their culture and country, they should.

If you feel the Lord is calling you toward adoption, will you pray about special needs adoption? Toddler or older-child adoption? Adoption from the US Foster Care System? HIV + Adoption?

Of course there are challenges inherent in each of these paths that may be avoided by adopting a healthy infant. But if God is calling you, He will equip you for whatever challenges you find along the way.

I’m sharing this because as I was praying about adoption, I read SO MANY blogs and personal accounts of adoption. But it wasn’t until we actually began this process that I discovered this hard reality in the international adoption world: Most of the adoptable orphans in the world are older or have special needs. And most families entering the adoption process are looking for a healthy baby (often a healthy baby girl.) This creates a supply and demand problem and many of the ethical issues with international adoption – and when we’re talking about children formed in the image of God, we shouldn’t be talking about supply and demand.

I hope this doesn’t come across as judgmental or pushy…  And I certainly don’t mean to communicate that it’s wrong to adopt a healthy baby girl. With one exception, ALL of my close friends who have adopted internationally brought home girls, and all but one of those girls was a baby (and relatively healthy). And every one of those girls desperately needed a family, I praise God He brought (is bringing) them home to my friends.

And in the interest of full disclosure, it’s not like our family chose the hardest, scariest road. But we did pray and consider all of the above options...and ended up feeling led to a toddler boy in Ug*nda. But there’s a LARGE part of my heart that thinks I may have an older child – a 7 or 8 year old daughter – out there somewhere. Matt? Is not convinced… :)